The project will then focus on a study on fair and fair trade in Brazil and will hold a second forum in December 2018. At the same time, Brazil is negotiating with India and South Africa, with which it is the largest economic bloc of the southern countries within the IBSA, creating tensions within Mercosur. Brazil negotiates a free trade agreement with the EU under the Mercosur Group. While Brazil was one of the main Latin American architects of the defeat of the free trade agreement, its economic policy has, in many cases, been in favour of signing free trade agreements. Given its dominant position in Mercosur and on the continent in general, it has focused its efforts on securing such agreements in the institutional for a of which it is a member. The announcement follows a series of other small trade deals announced by the Trump administration, including with Japan, China and the European Union. Unlike a comprehensive free trade agreement, these small agreements do not require congressional approval, which can put a deal on hold or collapse for many months. The Trump administration has also sought a limited trade deal with India, but has yet to reach an agreement. At the end of April, Argentina announced to its Mercosur partners, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, that they would withdraw from trade negotiations already concluded with the European Union and the European Free Trade Association. This unilateral decision caused shockwaves on the part of Mercosur, as it implied a possible dissolution of the trading bloc.
However, Argentina`s decision was later overturned and Mercosur`s partners are now considering how they can make progress despite each country`s competing priorities. Although Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay are interested in new trade agreements with other countries such as Canada, South Korea and Singapore, the von Fernandez government has reversed Argentina`s liberal stance and does not support the idea of new trade agreements. When Mauricio Macri was elected president in 2015, there was a glimmer of hope for Mercosur to finally open up. Macri has been at the forefront of reviving external negotiations, which were concluded with an agreement between Mercosur and the European Union after more than 20 years of stalled negotiations.